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Anaerobic conditioning workouts are perfect if you’re looking to build lean muscle, increase your energy levels and reduce body fat.
This form of high-intensity exercise isn’t just for people like sprinters and weightlifters.
By adding some anaerobic training into your week, you can expect a ton of benefits leading to good health.
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So, if you’re tired of spending, what feels likes, hours on the treadmill or exercise bike, keep reading and we’ll suggest some of the best anaerobic conditioning workouts that you can do.
But first, let’s look into what anaerobic workouts are and how they differ from other forms of training.
What’s An Example Of Anaerobic Training?
An example of an anaerobic workout is high-intensity interval training, or hiit for short.
This type of training involves performing short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods.
Exercises such as burpees or jump squats could form part of a typical hiit workout.
Any form of high intensity exercise will engage your anaerobic system and increase your heart rate very quickly.
This means you’ll only be able to undertake it for a short period of time.
Another example is something like hill sprints.
As you get out of breath soon after starting anaerobic activity your body will need to use glucose in your blood to supply it with enough energy to meet the demands of your workout.
This is different from something like long distance running, which is aerobic exercise, where your body would use oxygen for energy instead.
Essentially, anaerobic means ‘without oxygen’ whereas aerobic means ‘with oxygen’.
Both energy systems are active within the body at any given time.
However, the more dominant energy source will depend on the exercise intensity and the duration.
6 Best Anaerobic Conditioning Workouts
Below are some examples of anaerobic exercises that can form part of your training program.
Depending on your ability and fitness level, you can mix and match the suggested anaerobic activities to create your own personal workout.
Tabata is a popular form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that involves 20-30 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest.
You can perform exercises like burpees, bodyweight squats, push-ups, or sprints in a Tabata format.
Below is a Tabata anaerobic workout you can try, do as many reps as you can for the 20 seconds with each rest period being seconds.
Continue repeating the exercises until you’ve done a 20-minute workout.
- Bodyweight squats for 20 seconds then rest.
- Plank leg raise on the right leg for 20 seconds then rest.
- Plank leg raise on the left leg for 20 seconds then rest.
- Forward lunges alternating between legs for 20 seconds then rest.
- Burpees for 20 seconds then rest.
- Jumping Jacks for 20 seconds then rest.
- Skater Jumps for 20 seconds then rest.
Sprint intervals are a highly effective workout that can significantly improve your speed, power, and anaerobic energy systems.
They involve short sprints where you run as fast as possible followed by recovery periods.
Here’s more information on how to perform sprint intervals as part of your anaerobic conditioning workout.
Before starting make sure you warm up first with something like star jumps or light jogging to get your blood pumping and loosen up your muscles.
- Sprint at maximum effort for 20-30 seconds.
- Walk or jog back to the start at a slow pace allowing recovery of 60-90 seconds.
- Repeat the sprint and recovery cycle for a set number of rounds, usually 6-10 rounds to start with.
As your fitness improves, you can adjust and progress your sprint intervals:
- Increase the sprint duration to 40 seconds or more.
- Reduce the recovery time to challenge yourself further.
- Increase the number of rounds.
- Add slight inclines to your sprint route to increase the intensity.
- Incorporate sprinting into your regular running routine.
Plyometric training is a type of exercise that focuses on explosive, fast, and powerful movements.
It helps improve your ability to generate force and power output quickly, making it a great way of enhancing anaerobic conditioning.
Exercises involve movements that stretch and then quickly shorten the muscle (stretch-shortening cycle).
Plyometrics can be demanding on your muscles and joints, so it’s important to use proper form to avoid injury.
Plyometric exercises to include in your workout:
- Box Jumps: Stand in front of a sturdy box or platform. Jump onto it, ensuring a soft landing with bent knees. Step back down and repeat.
- Depth Jumps: Stand on a box, step off it, and upon landing, immediately jump as high as you can.
- Squat Jumps: Perform a squat and explosively jump into the air. Land softly and immediately go into the next jump.
- Lunges: Incorporate explosive lunges, where you switch legs in the air as you jump up.
- Tuck Jumps: Jump into the air, bringing your knees toward your chest.
- Clapping Push-Ups: Perform push-ups with enough force to allow you to clap your hands in mid-air.
If you’re looking to improve you speed, coordination and ability to change directions quickly, then agility drills can be the best way to do this.
The below drills are often used in sports like soccer, basketball, and football.
You need to be quite nimble before you can pick up the pace, so start off slow to begin with.
- Ladder Drills: Lay down an agility ladder or create one using tape on the ground. Perform exercises like lateral shuffles, high knees, and quick steps through the ladder. If you want some specific ladder drills have a read of our article here.
- Cone Drills: This involves setting up cones in a specific pattern like a zigzag. Practice moving quickly between the cones, performing various cuts and turns.
- T-Drills: Place four cones in the shape of a “T.” Start at the bottom of the T, sprint to the top, shuffle to the right, shuffle to the left, and then sprint back down.
- Pro Agility Drill (3-Cone Drill): Set up three cones in a straight line. Sprint to the middle cone, touch it, change direction to the right, sprint to the far cone, touch it, change direction to the left, and sprint back to the starting point.
- Shuttle Runs: Mark a distance with cones and shuttle back and forth as quickly as possible.
- Figure-Eight Drill: Set up two cones in a figure-eight pattern and move through the pattern as quickly as possible, changing direction and pivoting at the cones.
To obtain anaerobic conditioning benefits, weight lifting and other resistance based strength training should be done with heavier weights and to a short rep range.
However, before jumping straight to heavy weightlifting, make sure you get the form correct first to prevent injury.
For the below suggested exercises, you’ll want to stick to reps of between 4 to 6 and around 3 to 6 sets.
Take a rest period between each set of anywhere between 2 to 5 minutes.
- Squats: Develop lower body strength by squatting with a barbell.
- Deadlifts: Helps to work your lower back and posterior chain muscles.
- Bench Press: Target your chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Overhead Press: Strengthen your shoulders and triceps.
- Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups: Work on your back and biceps.
- Rows: Strengthen your back and biceps with various rowing exercises.
Battle ropes are a great tool for your anaerobic conditioning workouts.
Exercises with them will work all muscle groups and help to strengthen your cardiovascular system.
For the below workout routine, perform each exercise for a duration of between 20 to 60 seconds followed by 30 to 60 seconds of rest.
The duration of exercise and rest will depend on your current fitness level.
- Alternating Waves: Hold one end of each rope in your hands and alternate raising and lowering each arm to create a wave-like motion in the ropes.
- Double Waves: Simultaneously raise and lower both arms to create double waves in the ropes.
- Slams: Lift both ropes overhead and slam them to the ground with as much force as you can manage.
- Circles: Swing the ropes in a circular motion in front of you.
- In-and-Out Waves: Perform alternating waves but widen and narrow your arm movements to create an “in and out” pattern.
What Are The Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise
There are several key beneficial effects when you regularly perform anaerobic workouts.
We’ve listed some of the these below.
- Helps to reduce blood pressure
- Faster recovery times
- Increase in lean muscle mass
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Workouts take less time compared to aerobic workouts
- Improved bone density and better joint health
- Boost metabolism to help with weight loss
We always stress the importance of varying your workouts so be sure to add in some other forms of exercise including aerobic workouts such as cycling, swimming, or walking.
Some anaerobic conditioning workouts can be stressful on your joints, especially when not done correctly.
If you’re not sure on any of the above, get some advice from a personal trainer who can help to oversee your training.